The East Hanover (New Jersey) Board of Education decided against removing the “One Nation Under God” flags from East Hanover Middle School and the Frank J. Smith Elementary School. This came in response to a letter from the atheist group, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), asking for the removal of the two flags that fly below the American flags. It is worth noting that FFRF isn't just against the display of "One Nation Under God" on a flag. It also opposes the phrase being in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well.
This isn't the first time "under God" has come under attack in New Jersey. In 2015, the Superior Court of New Jersey found in favor of keeping "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance after being challenged by atheists. In American Humanist Association v. Matawan–Aberdeen Regional School District the Court gave this inspiring statement:
"Over and over, from the writings of the founders of the Constitutions of both the United States and the State of New Jersey, emerges a faith in, and a reliance and even dependency upon God to help secure the blessings of liberties and freedom attendant upon good governance....
"[T]he founders of our present 1947 New Jersey Constitution saw fit to preface that document by expressing the gratitude of the people of this state 'to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy,' and the hope that God would 'bless[ ]...our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations.' The preamble to the 1947 Constitution is identical to the preamble to the Constitution of 1844.
"Indeed, the New Jersey Constitution, in various permutations since 1776, has made explicit references to 'Almighty God.' Under plaintiffs' reasoning, the very Constitution under which plaintiffs seek redress for perceived atheistic marginalization could itself be deemed unconstitutional, an absurd proposition which plaintiffs do not and cannot advance here. (Emphasis added)
"...Moreover, the words 'under God' are now as interwoven through the fabric of the Pledge of Allegiance as the threads of red, white, and blue into the fabric of the flag to which the pledge is recited. As a matter of historical tradition, the words “under God” can no more be expunged from the national consciousness than the words “In God We Trust” from every coin in the land, than the words “so help me God” from every presidential oath since 1789, or than the prayer that has opened every congressional session of legislative business since 1787." (For more information, visit The Becket Fund.)
Maybe the East Hanover schools should begin posting -- in every classroom -- the preamble to the New Jersey Constitution as a civics lesson:
"We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
Or, they could just summarize it with the words "one nation under God." Either way, teachers need to instruct their students on why "under God" is so important to our nation, their state, and their own lives. (Read my blog on this.)
As students grow into adulthood they will not defend what they do not cherish, and they will not cherish what they do not understand.